08 March 2011

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Hindu Guru Prakashanand Saraswati Convicted by Texas Court goes under ground

Hindu Guru Prakashanand Saraswati Convicted by
Texas Court goes under ground

Updated – Thursday, March 10, 2011

A US court has issued an arrest warrant against a Hindu religious leader Prakashanand Saraswati who has been convicted of molesting two young girls at his ashram in Texas.

Prakashanand Saraswati, known to his devotees at Barsana Dham ashram south of Austin as Shree Swamiji, was convicted of all 20 counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact, by a Hays County jury Friday.

The charges were based on allegations of two women, Shyama Rose and Vesla Tonnessen Kazimer, now 30 and 27 years old, respectively, whose families lived at the 200-acre ashram in Driftwood.

They said the guru kissed and fondled them on numerous occasions over the course of several years, beginning when they were as young as 12.

A third woman, Kate Tonnessen, now 31, also claimed the holy man had kissed and groped her during the same period.

Each of the 20 charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Prakashanand Saraswati, known to his devotees as Shree Swamiji skipped court on the day of his sentencing.

The charges by Rose and Kazimer against Prakashanand were first levied in April 2008 following which he was arrested.

He was later released on a USD 1 million bond.

In closing arguments, Assistant Criminal District Attorney Amy Lockhart told the jury that Swamiji had used his power as a religious leader to grope the girls for his own gratification.

“We want to show you that he had the power, love and trust and he abused it,” she said.

Lockhart explained that the girls saw Swamiji as a god and could not question his acts.

The first accuser, now 30, said that the alleged abuse began when she was 12 years old.

“She thought it was impossible to outcry against a god,” Lockhart said. “She was told that it was a test and if she failed she would go to hell.”

Similar abuse initially occurred to the second accuser, aged 27, when she was also 12 years old, said Lockhart, who claimed that Swamiji exploited the girl’s trust by kissing her with his tongue and fondling her breasts numerous times.

“She believed that he must have had a divine reason for this,” she told the jury.

After Mr Saraswati failed to appear for his court appointment yesterday, District Judge Charles Ramsay issued an arrest warrant against him, and revoked his USD 1 million bond.

US authorities have appealed to the public to share any information on him.

In a statement, the office of the Hays County Sheriff said it was on the lookout for Mr Saraswati whose ashram spreads over 200 acres.

Update – Thursday, March 10, 2011

Prakashanand Saraswati, received 14 years in prison per count and fines of $10,000 per count for a total of $200,000.
It’s still unknown if the jail time will run concurrently

Two felony arrest warrants were issued Monday for Saraswati, who was convicted of all charges by the jury of eight men and four women,

Still the so called Guru is missing and in hiding.

Reality Views by sm –
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Keywords – Prakashanand Saraswati, Hindu Guru, Convicted, USA Prakashanand Saraswati 240 years jail, Prakashanand Saraswati arrest


Bikram March 08, 2011  

well good the religious leader is taken to task but the ladies too should be asked were they blind for so many years what was going on ..

I myself feel that such leaders are a waste of time and YES they do get to such things hardly any leader we find who is not in a controversary..

Here in Uk also we got a few such babas who have suddenly gone underground now ..
but still women especially follow these people blindly wonder why


Bikram March 08, 2011  

but how come none of the hindu organisations going on about how a hindu is made a scapegoat .. I am waiting for that news :) hopefully soon

Amrit March 08, 2011  

Let us see what comes out. Typically Law Enforcement is very careful before bringing the cases. Seems like they do have substantial evidence to prove the case. This portraits a very bad image of Indians...in general

SM March 08, 2011  

scapgoat, yes well said

SM March 08, 2011  

Jury already found him guilty and now they will fix the punishment

Nrupen Masram March 09, 2011  

I can't understand why people trust religious things so blindly.
By the way if he get punished then that is what we call would be justice

SM March 09, 2011  

Nrupen Masram,,